Young Audiences of NJ and Eastern PA had a teaching artists gathering on Thursday at a corporate site outside of Princeton. These are always energizing in many ways. It’s good to meet some of the new artists on the roster and get to see what they can do and it’s good to reconnect with some of the familiar faces again.

Young Audiences is making a concerted effort train the artists in some pretty heavy philosophy of some cultural shifts in arts education, especially with Diversity, Equity and Identity. We need to have our antennas up so that we can reach each and every child in our audiences. Thus, DEI has become an intentional aim for the group at large and is taken very seriously. We are at the beginning of this process and the YANJ is looking for our input.

The concept of creating safe spaces for kids, engaging the kids and encouraging their voices in what we do. It’s also important not to have a “saviour complex” thinking that we have all the answers as artists.

The discussions were great and the mini-workshops were fun, as well.

 I ran into Rand Whipple, a movement artist from Bloomsburg, PA. He toured Mexico with Touchstone back in the early 80’s and I don’t think I had seen him since. A great surprise.

As always, I drove away energized and inspired by the people in this field.